Sarah Palin

When Sarah Palin first showed up on the political scene, I was very impressed. So much of what she had to say was exactly what I was thinking and feeling regarding our nation. I was also impressed that she did what she said she would do, true to her word. This did not seem to be a common trait among politicians any longer.

I loved her bulldog, or mama bear tenacity. I loved the fact that she was and is a strong Christian woman. She arrived as a bright light on a dark and murky political scene. Yes, I love Sarah Palin.

So the other day she came out in support of a candidate in the 2016 presidential election that I don’t like one bit. I won’t go into what I don’t like about this candidate. That’s not what this post is about. So what does Sarah Palin’s candidate choice have to do with Christianity and the love of God?

It’s what I noticed in my own heart. Suddenly she didn’t seem to shine so bright in my eyes. When I would see an image of her or a post by her, I felt this little scratch inside. I no longer felt love, but I felt something else creeping into my heart.

So why do I love Sarah Palin? I realized that my love had been based on her words and actions. When her thoughts, words and actions were different than my own, fear began to creep in and love began to fade. Something was wrong. Something had to change. I had to change.

Today, I can say that my love for Sarah Palin is not based on her thoughts, words or actions whether they agree with my own or not. I am a born again believer. Sarah is a born again believer. That means that we are both part of God’s family, both part of the Body of Christ. My Savior and King Jesus loves her unconditionally and so do I. He has asked me to and He gave me His love to do so.

Politics is never a reason to love or not love someone. Agreement or disagreement is not a reason to love or not love someone. We love because He first loved us. He loves unconditionally and so should we.

It doesn’t mean we have to agree with them. It does’t mean we have to vote for them. It does mean that we let His love flood our hearts no matter what and allow Him to drive out all the fear that would try to come. Fear is destroying this nation from the inside out. Love, God’s love that never fails, is saving this nation. Let us be on the love side of this equation.

PS… Jesus loves Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Barak Obama unconditionally. Not based on their performance or good deeds, but based on His love for all mankind. He loves them, so so do I. He asked me to.

Love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12

The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5

But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. Luke 6:27-28

Faith works by and through love. Galatians 5:6

The Elephant in the Room

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down… Psalm 133:1-2, KJV

If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. Mark 3:25 NIV

I have attended many churches throughout my life. I attended two Catholic churches with my parents. I attended a small Pentecostal church with my husband and his family. My husband and I attended a Methodist church while in college. We were part of an Evangelical Word of Faith church for 14 years. Three years ago we moved to another church at the Lord’s direction and with our previous pastors’ blessings. It’s been an amazing journey. At each church I saw a unique facet of our amazing and multi-faceted God. Each church added another brushstroke to the canvas that holds the masterpiece God is painting… me. At each church I grew in my relationship with God. I wouldn’t trade a moment of it.

I entitled this post, the elephant in the room, because recently I have encountered something that is obvious to so many, yet unspoken. Ignored, but still there. I think it’s time we talk about it.

Since moving from my previous church to my current church, I have noticed something that I find very disturbing. When I speak to friends from my previous church, there is tension. There is awkwardness. There is this subtle undercurrent of competition regarding the two churches. I love everyone regardless of which church we go to. No matter how many church moves we’ve made, I still consider the people in each church family and friends. Each move we made was at God’s direction and I would not ask anyone to leave one church to come to another. That is between them and God.

I have invited friends to special events at our new church, not for the purpose of getting them to change churches, but because I love my friends and feel that they will be blessed and grow from the experience. They are always free to simply say, ‘no’. Yet, the response is often tension and then an account of what God is doing in their church.

I also come in contact with people that also attended and left my previous church. Some of them had an experience that left them hurt. When I talk to them about friends that are still there, once again the tension begins to build. I encourage those friends to let God heal their hearts of those hurts.

Can I just say that my church affiliation is not my identity. I didn’t feel that when I left one church to go to another that I was in my heart leaving the people of each church. My identity is not in the name on the building I choose to worship in. My identity is in being a part of the Body of Christ. When I was at the Catholic churches I was a part of the Body of Christ. When I was at the Pentecostal church, the Methodist church, the Word of Faith church I was still a part of the same body, the Body of Christ. Since coming to this new church, guess what I am still a part of the same Body that I became a part of when I gave my heart to Jesus 38 years ago, while a member of a Catholic church. I am still connected to the believers at each of these churches.

When we allow ourselves to be separated based on denomination, based on church affiliation, understand that we are not just allowing ourselves to be divided from another church body. We are allowing ourselves to be divided from a part of Christ’s Body.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ… But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 1 Corinthians 12:12, 18-21

Whether we realize it or not, we need each other. The enemy would love to divide us. He knows a house divided cannot stand. He would love to divide Christ’s body. Let’s each examine our hearts and refuse to be divided from one another. This post is not just for those who attend my previous church, but also to any who have not attended my previous churches yet feel free to say unkind things about them or about any church or denomination for that matter. We can disagree, but we don’t have to be divided from one another in our hearts.

Jesus Himself said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” I think it’s time we stop judging, rejecting and condemning one another and start loving one another. A lost, hurt and dying world is watching.

And I end this by praying for myself, “Lord, search me.”

Expressions of Love

Galatians 5:6 ~

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. (KJV)

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love. (NASB)

For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love. (Amplified)

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (NIV)

One day as I was teaching the word of God in a prison, I found myself unexpectedly leaving my notes and begin talking about “mean Christians”. Christians who become so legalistic they constantly use the Word of God to judge, reject or condemn others, instead of edifying, encouraging and empowering others.

At the end of the teaching, a woman came forward crying and admitted to being a “mean Christian”. As she wept and repented, the rest of the ladies present wept with her as they watched her change before their very eyes, by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, by the power of His love.

We talk much about faith. We talk much about speaking to that mountain and casting it into the sea. We talk much about laying hold of a Word from God and not letting go until it manifests in our lives. And I thank God that more and more we are also talking about love. Faith works by love.

I came across the scripture Galatians 5:6 in the New Living Translation recently.

For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus… what is important is faith expressing itself in love. (NLV)

When I read it, it rang so true. Our faith should be an expression of His love.

I spoke to a youth minister from another denomination one time. We discussed a topic that his denomination believes has passed away.

He was very tense at first. As I shared a story about an interaction I had with a woman from his denomination, I shared how she was expecting me to get on to her about not believing God in her situation. I am very thankful to say that is not at all what she got from me. By the grace of God and to the glory of God, what she got from me was the love of God in the midst of her very difficult and tragic situation.

The youth minister told me that he too would have expected to be corrected and judged in that situation. He said many times people who believe the things that we believe from God’s word, can be pushy and judgmental. That ought not be.

That day, we did not agree on everything we discussed, but I can honestly say he and I walked in love through our entire discussion.

The teachings on faith are so powerful and true. They can help to set the captives free. But not if  the message is shared in such a way that the captives run from us instead of to us. It should always be shared bathed in His love.

So let us walk in faith. Let us teach this faith. And let it all be said and done as an expression of His love.

Time to Love

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:7-8, KJV)

But the end and culmination of all things has now come near; keep sound minded and self-restrained and alert therefore for [the practice of] prayer. Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]. (1 Peter 4:7-8, Amplified)

Look at the first part of that scripture. Peter, the apostle, is speaking to these churches of the approach of the end of all things. In the Amplified it says “the end and culmination of all things”. This is not a light matter that he is writing to the church about. It is a matter that is very important to all. So he instructs them to be alert in prayer. How much more as the time draws even nearer, should we be watching and praying?

We have many prayer groups at our church that are watching and praying. I hear of the many prayer groups meeting in churches across the nation, even throughout the entire world. I myself have attended special times of prayer with intercessors from around the world who have gathered to pray. And pray we must. The time demands it!

Yet this scripture goes on to say, “above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another.” Above all things. I’m no Greek scholar, but I did look up the Greek words used for above all things and guess what I found. It means above all things. Yes pray, but it better be from a place of love and it most definitely can not be in place of walking in love. It’s time to pray and love!

So here, Peter is speaking to the church at a very critical time and he says, above everything else, above all other things love one another.

When is the time for the end of all things? No one knows for sure. Here, Peter told them it was at hand. We’ll it has been almost 2000 years since the time period when Peter may have written this. If the time was at hand then, it is much more at hand now. We are at least 1900 years closer. So if they had to watch and pray then. We ought to watch and pray now. And if they had to love one another above all else, how much more should we be doing that right now?

In many of my previous post I have said that now is the time to love as He loved. We all mean to. We are all working on it. But now is truly the time for the Body of Christ to take this seriously. As it says in 1 Corinthians 14:1 in The Message translation, “Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it…” It goes on to say, “because it does”.

It is time to love!

Oh, How I Love Jesus

The other day as I was praying, I began to see the faces of a few people, brothers and sisters in Christ, that I don’t always get along with. No real trouble between us, just personality differences that cause us to rub one another the  wrong way at times. Always nice and polite with one another. But not always feeling very patient and kind or believing the best of one another.

As I saw their faces, I could tell I was not loving them the way God loves them. Remember our commandment from Jesus.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (John 13:34, NKJV)

Their faces did not stir in my heart an unfailing, overflowing love, which is how He loves me, so I knew I was falling short here. I began to repent. I asked the Lord to forgive me for not loving them the way I should. As I prayed something happened in my heart, and I realized I began to say something else. I began to say, “Father, forgive me for not loving You.”

It became so real to me in that moment, that when I don’t love others, it’s Him I’m not loving. We are the Body of Christ and when we don’t love one another, it is a part of Him that we do not love.

For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members (parts) of His body. (Ephesians 5:29-30, Amplified)

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is very great, but I speak concerning [the relation of] Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:31-32, Amplified)

We are one with Him and through Him we are one with each other, a body, His body.

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14, KJV)

He also is the Head of [His] body, the church… (Colossians 1:18, Amplified)

Now this may be a difficult pill to swallow for some, but know this, that He would not ask us to do something that He did not give us the capability to do. In His words to us, in His instructions to the church, in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, is His grace (the power of the Holy Spirit) to do what we He has called us to do, which is to love one another as He has loved us.

Ask Him to teach you, to lead you, to guide you. Ask Him to change you. Yield to His Word and His grace that live in you. And as you go from glory to glory you will look more like Him and you will love more like Him.

But concerning brotherly love [for all other Christians], you have no need to have anyone write you, for you yourselves have been [personally] taught by God to love one another. (1 Thessalonians 4:9, Amplified)

How Do I Love Thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I spend a lot of time meditating on the fact that God loves me. One of my favorite things to say is, “My Father loves me.” And it’s true! He loved me so much He sent His Son to die for my sins and He raised me up with His Son and gave me His righteousness. Oh, how He loves me!

This morning, the words from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous poem drifted through my mind. “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” And I decided to spend the day meditating on how much I love Him.

I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. (Psalms 18:1, KJV)

I love the Lord, because He has heard [and now hears] my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live. (Psalms 116:1-2, KJV)

My beloved is mine and I am his! (Song of Solomon 2:16, Amplified)

If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15, KJV)

My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly. (Psalm 119:167)

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. (John 15:13-14, KJV)

By this we come to know… the [essential] love: that He laid down His [own] life for us; and we ought to lay [our] lives down for [those who are our] brothers [in Him]. (1 John 3:16, Amplified)

If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar… (1 John 4:20, KJV)

Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord: thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs… Feed my sheep. (John 21:15, 16; KJV)

For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me… Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:35-36, 40; KJV)

I love You LORD with all my heart, all my mind, all my soul and all my strength. And I love my neighbor as I do myself. Oh, how I love Thee! Let me count the ways.

Knowing God

Know Him.

[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly]… (Philippians 3:10, Amplified)

Know love and know Him.

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. (1 John 4:7, KJV)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is (springs) from God; and he who loves [his fellowmen] is begotten (born) of God and is coming [progressively] to know and understand God [to perceive and recognize and get a better and clearer knowledge of Him]. (1 John  4:7, Amplified)

My prayer for you:

May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself  indwelling your innermost being and personality]. May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [that you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and  become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! (Ephesians 3:16-19, Amplified)

Know love, know Him, know adventures in God.

…the people who know their God shall prove themselves strong and shall stand firm and do exploits [for God]. (Daniel 11:32, KJV)

My words to Him:

I will never be satisfied unless I do mighty exploits for You Lord.

His words to me (and to you):

Seek Me. You will be satisfied and We will do mighty exploits together.

Love One Another

In John 13:34-35 (Amplified) Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].”

It’s interesting that He says it’s as we love one another that men will recognize us. Many times we major on loving the ones who don’t know Him. We will lay down our lives to spend time with the sick and with the prisoner, but we get impatient with those at home. We’ll spend hours on our knees for the orphans in far away places, but that annoying in-law gets no prayers, just complaints. We are to love one another even when that other lives with us and their actions directly affect us.

I can say that my biggest testing ground for my love walk is at home. It’s easy to put on love when I’m out and about ministering in His Name. But what about when I’m tired and feel spent from a long day and my family is just not cooperating? This is where we find out just how yielded to love I really am.

I will walk a mile to take a drink of water to the hurt and dying world, but will I walk to the kitchen and get a drink when they forget to say please?

I will overlook the sins of others when it doesn’t really affect me. But what about when their actions directly cause me so much pain and trouble?

Here is where we find out, can I love the ones closest to me with all their faults, all their missteps, all their actions that adversely affect me.

When Jesus hung on the cross He looked at those who had just placed Him there, the ones that had beat Him and nailed Him to that cross, and He said Father forgive them for they know not what they do. We are to love the same way He loves.

What are you still holding on to? What are you unwilling to forgive? Love others just like He loved you. Cast all their sins behind your back. Selah.